Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

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The Coup, Day 3 – Putting the Bite in Sex Scenes

It’s Day 3 of the The Coup! This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but between unexpected doctor appointments for myself (I’m fine, but my shoulder is gonna take about 5-8 weeks to heal), my 9th wedding anniversary (we forgot until Facebook reminded us LOL), and an unexpected Denny Basenji vet visit (he’s fine, just pissed off that he is being subjected to medicated wipes), things got a bit…wild.

Denny Basenji is not amused.

However, we of the revolution are nothing if not stalwart, and to make up for missing yesterday, I promise a SATURDAY post! Maybe even a Sunday post. BOOYAH! Yeah, I know. I’m kind of tearing up from my own generosity, too. Frankly, I’m having so much fun, I may not give the blog back to Kristen after this week. Okay. I might let her post occasionally. We’ll see.

So, today’s topic should be fun, if perhaps a bit edgy. At the very least, I hope to skirt the bounds of propriety and induce mild squirming. I mean, any time you write about sex and writing sex scenes, squirming should be involved.

The Wide World of Sex

There are all kinds of sex scenes with all different levels of heat, from the kiss-fade-to-black and mild groping, all the way to full frontal erotica that tests the limits of our taboos. Aside from providing purposeful or inadvertent wanking material, sex scenes actually can serve a real purpose in the story.

A sex scene can complicate or resolve a relationship. Sex can be used as one of the bad, impulsive, very human decisions that a character makes. Done right, a sex scene is a brutally accurate barometer about the psychological, physical, and emotional state of a character. One character can use sex as misdirection and distraction for another character. Sex scenes can deepen our immersion in the world, identification with the characters, and indulgence in the fantasy and suspension of reality. Finally, sex can be used to explore some of the most profound ideas about human relationships, gender roles, and power.

This is assuming, of course, that it is a well-written sex scene.

A badly written sex scene reads like the bastard offspring of a technical manual and IKEA assembly directions. It’s mechanical, predictable, and worst of all, barely titillating. That is a cardinal crime.

A sex scene must always have some element of arousal to it, and the only exceptions would be describing rape or incest. Even if we are trying to write a scene that is meant to be troubling, part of what makes it disturbing is that something resonates with us. Something about it arouses us physically despite the rational part that knows it’s wrong or dangerous.

The trick is knowing how to define and create what is arousing to us, the characters, and the reader. Yet, doing so is an exercise in uncomfortable vulnerability. I mean, how embarrassing is it to admit we get hot and bothered writing a sex scene? *raises hand* Yes, that has happened to me. Do I like being open about it to you all? No. But, if I don’t have the courage to write sex scenes that turn me on and to share the power of doing so with writers I am coaching, then, I should stick with illustrating IKEA assembly directions.

Friends and Family, Asking ALL the Awkward Questions Since…Forever

So, how do we start?

First, we have to be honest with ourselves about what we find sexy, seductive, dangerous, desirable, and taboo. Also, we have to be honest about what doesn’t appeal to us. This is not to say that our characters have to mirror our tastes perfectly. But, in order to write convincingly for our characters, we have to accept our own likes and dislikes before we bequeath any or all of them on our creations.

The more explicit and daring the sex you write about, the more likely you are to get the question of, “Uh…is your sex life really like that?” Depending on the person and the mood, I have often answered, “No. It’s worse.” In general, however, a good way to shut people up with that invasive question is to pose this question in return: “I wrote about a serial killer. Does that mean I have to be a murderer?”

The only reason we should ever feel embarrassed about writing a sex scene is if it poorly crafted or doesn’t fit in the story. If we put our best work into it, and if it is an organic part of the plot, then we can be fiercely proud of what we have written. Sex is also less ‘noticeable’ as something shocking when it is done well and fits naturally within the story.

Speaking of shocking, whom exactly are we worried about shocking? Parents? Friends? Co-workers? Interestingly, this is one of the biggest hurdles I encounter with many young female writers. There is a crushing trepidation about shocking everyone they know with their writing, whether it’s on the side of dark/twisted/gory or sensual/sexual/explicit. As a result, darkness becomes taupe, and sensuality and sex end up as racy as the raunchiest episode of “Little House on the Prairie” – in other words, not.

I know this fear is a real thing. I was just like that all through my twenties. Then, something changed. Maybe it’s because I turned thirty. Maybe it’s because my ambition and desire to get better at writing reached a point where it was stronger than my shyness. Maybe I realized that despite the fact my father was a psychologist and my mother was a social worker, they wouldn’t judge me for venturing into more adult territory with my ideas. As it turned out, they were incredibly supportive. However, even if they hadn’t been, the most important realization I reached was that my audience was bigger than them. My audience was bigger than my co-workers, former classmates, gym buddies, and Facebook friends.

If it all worked out, then people I had never heard of and would never know would end up reading my book. They wouldn’t know anything about me other than my name and the short bio at the back of the book. I wouldn’t be Cait. I would be abstract. I would be perhaps the least important thing about the book. Whether it was a chaste kiss or a menage a trois BDSM scene, my readers would experience it through my characters. Not me.

And then, I was free.

Free not just to use the “naughty” words, but to tell the full, profound truth about the beauty and menace of sex in human relationships. I was ready to be an author, not just a writer.

Fantasy vs. Reality

I’m just going to put this right out there because I promised I was going to push buttons and stir the pot.

For the love of God, why are men in romance and erotica novels so damn chatty when they are having sex?

Now, hold on. I understand that dirty talk, sweet talk, and other dialogue can be an integral part of both the scene and the fantasy, but seriously, far too many of these guys end up sounding like women who subscribe to Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter and want to help the heroine self-actualize through a healthy, accepting sex life.

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the ideas, per se. However, if our goal is to write a strong, dominating alpha male, then we have to make him sound different from the women in the story. If the primary character we want the reader to identify with is the heroine, then yes, we want to explore her thoughts and feelings thoroughly. But, the hero needs to remain a bit of a mystery.

There is nothing as frustrating, maddening, and addictive as the dialogue or hint that leaves us (and the heroine) wanting just a bit more to confirm exactly how the hero feels or what he thinks. To echo Kristen Lamb, why make it easy for the characters? To have a hero who confesses his love – in excruciating, and dare I say it, pedantic detail – leaves nothing to be desired. It sets up no problems to solve and leaves no room for growth. This goes for both romantic scenes and sex scenes.

That’s not to say we don’t want total silence on the part of our hero. A certain amount of dialogue is usually necessary to move the scene forward. Also, part of the fun of writing romance and sex scenes are indulging a little bit in having our characters hear things that would be like pulling eye teeth to hear in real life.

But the key here is ‘a little bit.’ Sex and power always go together, and by having our dominant character lay all his (or her) cards out on the table, we bleed out any power, mystery, and allure. Even worse, our characters begin to sound the same.

I would imagine the same principles of power dynamics and differentiation in expression would apply in LGBTQ stories. However, my experience in working with editing LGBTQ sex scenes is limited, and I may not be aware of emotional touchstones and physical details that are crucial to any basic scene.

Just remember, sex talk and dirty talk are great, but no one wants an overly emotional Chatty Cathy standing over them with a whip.

I’m a Tease

There is so much more I want to talk about in terms of writing sex scenes and sensuality in general. However, this blog is already getting long and overdue. Therefore, like a fan dancer, I will simply flutter my feathers at you all and tell you that I am offering a class on W.A.N.A. for writing sex scenes.

In this class, I am going to get, shall we say…granular…in terms of words to use and avoid, details for turning two-dimensional sex into three-dimensional, experiential love-making, pacing (because it matters in both writing and sex), and even how to tackle (literally) complicated scenes with two or more people/equipment/etc.

More information on the class below!

How to Dominate Your Sex Scenes (No Safe Words Here)

Class Title: How to Dominate Your Sex Scenes (No Safe Words Here)
Instructor: Cait Reynolds
Price: $40 USD Standard
Where: W.A.N.A. Digital Classroom
When: FRIDAY July 14th, 7:00 PM E.S.T. to 9:00 P.M. EST

Boy meets Girl. Boy and Girl have sex several times, though the scenes all kind of blur together at some point. Girl (or Boy) ends up in trouble at the hands of criminals/jealous ex/drug lord and needs Boy’s (or Girl’s) rescue.

Boy and Girl have celebratory sex and live happily ever after.

Sound all too familiar?

Maybe like the tens of thousands of schlocky “Schlongs of Shanghai” titles all competing for KENP (Kindle pages read) and the top 1,000 ranking on Amazon?

But, there’s no denying that erotica is one of the hottest genres around and has a very real place in literature. Yet, to write a work of erotica that provides both the escapist fantasy that readers want while creating a fast-paced story with memorable characters and riveting, unique sex scenes is probably harder than trying to find that billionaire cowboy with six-pack abs who’s into ménage-a-trois.

This class will not be for the faint of heart or those who blush easily!

We are going to tackle the nitty gritty of the erotica genre as a whole and sex scenes in particular…and use ALL the words in our discussions!

Topics covered include:

  • When to introduce sex into the story and the sex v. plot ratio –
  • Creating chemistry in one easy step
  • Decisions, decisions: Purple prose v. crass cusswords –
  • How to avoid the cookie-cutter Alpha male (and corresponding Mary Sue female) –
  • Keeping the sex fresh, interesting, and unique in every single scene – how realistic to make sex in any given scene v. how much detail is TMI, even for your readers?
  • What really makes a scene sexy?
  • What makes a story sexy?
  • BONUS: How to talk about erotica as literature and fun facts about the history of erotica!

****Just FYI, in an effort to combat spammers your comment won’t appear until I approve it, so don’t fret if it doesn’t appear right away.

Talk to me! And MAKE SURE to check out the classes below and sign up! Summer school! YAY!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of JUNE, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

NEW CLASSES!

Obviously, I have my areas of expertise, but I’ve wanted for a long time to fill in some gaps on classes I could offer.

Cait Reynolds was my answer.

She is an unbelievable editor, mentor and teacher and a serious expert in these areas. She consults numerous very successful USA Today and NYTBS authors and I highly, highly recommend her classes.

OMG, Like How to Write Fleek YA July 7th $40 with Cait Reynolds

How to Dominate Your Sex Scenes (No Safe Words Here) July 14th $40 w/ Cait Reynolds

Gaskets and Gaiters: How to Create a Compelling Steampunk World July 21st $35 w/ Cait Reynolds 

Lasers & Dragons & Swords, Oh MY! World Building for Fantasy & Science Fiction 

July 28th w/ Cait Reynolds $35/ GOLD $75/ PLATINUM $125

Classes with MOI!

Plotting for Dummies July 13th $35 ($250 for GOLD)

Blogging for Authors July 20th $50 ($150 for GOLD)

Branding for Authors  July 27th $35

OTHER Classes with Cait Reynolds

Shift Your Shifter Romance into High Gear July 15th $35 Basic/ $75 GOLD/ $125 PLATINUM

Classes with Lisa Hall-Wilson

Growing An Organic Platform On Facebook July 22nd $40

 

 

22 thoughts on “The Coup, Day 3 – Putting the Bite in Sex Scenes”

  1. Lorraine RoeLorraine Roe

    Fabulous! I needed to read every word! Hahahaha! Great illustrations. Thank you for this topic. I’ve written a romantic fantasy book, but it needs more beefing up in the sex scenes for all the reasons you mentioned. I mean fairies are hot, right? So…back in I go. I will also be contacting you about classes. Thanks for filling in on the blog.

  2. ChrisChris

    Hi Cait, your comment about friends’ and family’s reactions made me smile. It was the reason I originally chose to write under a nom de plume (although it’s just my real two forenames.). Writing a crime novel around the sex industry, and street prostitution… with a working girl as my protagonist… would (I thought) generate some awkward questions about how I knew so much.

    The initial idea came from stories told to me by a friend’s wife who’d been a Heroin addict working the streets in her younger years. She was quite open about her past. I knew the area where she’d worked (it was still at that time a popular kerb-crawling location) so getting the locations right wasn’t a problem.

    The fact that I’d also delivered to ‘massage parlours’ as part of my job meant I knew where to go to ask about ‘the game’. People are unusually willing to help a writer. It only took a visit or two for chats over coffee while they were waiting for clients. I even got a guided tour of the ‘facilities’, and the chance to talk to some of the waiting ‘punters’ about their own experiences. The odd follow up phone call sorted out any minor details and provided me with other contacts.

    As it was, I was so proud of my novel, and that I’d got accepted by a publisher, that everyone knew about my book. No one said a word, they just accepted it all in the same way as they accepted the other criminal activities in the story (My leading ‘tart’ is the good guy in the series: The ‘Lena’s Friends’ novels – https://www.ex-l-ence.com/collections/lenas-friends. )

    Of course, in other novels in the series, there are tender sexual encounters of a non business nature – and some equally tender working situations – but as you so rightly say, the writer has to take care how he or she treads the fine line between sensual and blatantly pornographic. What might be appropriate between one couple (or more) would be very wrong for other characters. Likewise, the ages of those depicted determine how they behave (A former girlfriend from my youth, who I’m still friends with, recognised a scene I’d written with some fond memories. She said it was quite nostalgic to read it forty years after the occasion.)

    Here’s one of those tender yet professional sexual situations as my protagonist, Lena, is with a regular client when she picks up another clue to feed to her friends in the police force. – (From the as yet unpublished Lena’s Friends novel. ‘Disrespected’.)

    To set the scene: Earlier in the book, Lena had arrived at her client’s home for an appointment, but had found the house mysteriously empty. Since then, the old man has been a victim of a bus hi-jacking but is now back home and is enjoying the ‘re-booked’ appointment.

    Brigadier Gordon Tomlinson lay back on his bed, gazing aimlessly at the ceiling with a satisfied look on his face. He rolled onto his side to look across at the woman lying next to him. Lena propped herself up on one elbow and looked into the old man’s eyes.

    “I’m serious, Gordon… I was worried about you… When I came in and heard no signs of life in here, I thought I was going to find you lying dead in your bed,” she chuckled softly, “But there’s certainly still some life in you today, isn’t there.”

    The Brigadier smiled, “Life in the old dog, and all that, my dear?… Yes, I suppose so… but not like it used to be.” He shrugged, “Never mind… What can I expect at my age, eh?” He reached over to his bedside cabinet to pick up a blister pack, “Even an old soldier like me sometimes needs a bit of help to stand to attention… or at least to remain at attention for the whole parade.” He laughed, waving the blue pills in his hand, “Got these from the jolly old MO… Sorry… I meant GP… they worked a treat though. Shame they’re not in khaki… rather than in bloody RAF colours. Perhaps that says something about the fly boys eh?”

    Lena laughed with him. She’d heard his grumbles about the RAF. He liked to run them down, suggesting that they did their fighting from ‘bloody arm chairs’, rather than getting down in the muck, or mixing it in the streets with their enemy. It hadn’t helped that his own son had joined the air force, rather than follow him into his regiment.

    She ran her fingers up and down the old soldier’s chest as they lay there. For a man in his early seventies, he kept himself remarkably fit. If it hadn’t been for his disability, due to the injuries to his legs sustained during his service in Northern Ireland, he’d have been every bit as active as many men under half his age.

    “Well all I can say, is that you’re still a credit to your regiment, Gordon… always the perfect gentleman… and from what my friend in the police force tells me, you’re still pretty good at staying calm under fire.”

    “Hah!” He laughed, “Hardly under fire, really… that silly little tart loosed off those two rounds by accident… They went nowhere near me, or anyone else thankfully.”
    She smiled, “Well this silly little tart’s very pleased they didn’t.”
    The old man interrupted her, “You’re no ‘tart’, my dear… You’re a very beautiful young lady, and don’t you forget it.”

    She laughed, “Maybe… If you say so…You’re the boss, as you’re the one paying me for my time… but then, that in itself means that I am indeed a ‘tart’ really.”

    “Not in my eyes, Lena,” he smiled. “Have they arrested the girl yet?… Or doesn’t your policeman friend tell you things like that?… I suppose it all about confidentiality these days.”

    “Oh he tells me lots of things he’s not supposed to, Gordon… They’ve got two suspects, as you know… but no, as far as I know, they haven’t found the girl yet.”

    “Hmm… Pity.” He sighed, “because she seemed a nasty piece of work… the others all seemed friendly and quite considerate to us old folk, but that tattooed little madam had a real king size chip on her shoulder.”

    “Tattooed?… I don’t remember any tattoo being mentioned… What tattoo?”

    “On her wrist, Lena… A regimental emblem of all things, though I doubt that she realised that… It was the skull and crossed bones of the Queen’s Royal Lancers… The ‘Death or Glory’ boys… but because of its design it’s been appropriated by all kinds of yobbos and ne’er-do-wells. I expect she thinks it’s something to do with pirates. They seem to be all the rage at the moment”

    “Have you told the police about it, Gordon?… It could be important.”

    “No Lena… I’ve only just remembered it.” He laughed, “That’s damn good, isn’t it?… I’m supposed to be trained in total recall, yet I forgot something like that… What an idiot. That Chief Inspector Wilson chap will think I’m a fraud.”

    Lena shook her head, “Not you… He’s more than impressed about your recall of events and details… As he said to me, once a trained soldier, always the trained soldier.” The old man beamed at this. Lena could still feel him pressing gently against her leg. She reached down, “Hmm… and talking about soldiering… that little blue pill has managed to keep you still standing to attention then, Brigadier?… Perhaps we need another trooping of the colour ceremony… another turn around the parade ground.” She reached over to the cabinet on her side of the bed and took another condom.

    Expertly opening the foil sachet with one hand and her teeth, she then reached down to remove the one that clung tenaciously to the old man’s still erect penis, before rolling the fresh one over it. The smile on his face showed that he had no objections, as she pushed him to roll him onto his back then swung her leg over him and rose to kneel upright as she straddled him.

    “Mmmm… ahhh,” he moaned softly, as she reached down to guide him inside her, “If I died right now… I’d be dying a very happy man.”

    “Don’t you dare do that to me,” she scolded him playfully, “And that’s an order… do you hear me soldier?”

    The old soldier lifted his hand, grinning as he snapped off a salute as smartly as he was able to, lying on his back.

    “Yes, Ma’am!… I hear you… Loud and clear.”

  3. Paige NormanPaige Norman

    Thanks for writing this. I’m currently struggling with my upbringing as a ‘good girl’ vs. the thoughts that are going on in my head (which is what my characters really want)…

    Great post!

  4. Cindy MahoneyCindy Mahoney

    Hi Cait,

    I understand the position (no pun intended, ha!). My romance/suspense are catered to the Christian audience (also non) and while sex maybe part of many novels–and a lot of Christian readers go for that, for the vicarious peeping Tom, I keep the novels I write decidedly chaste while each steam. I don’t like sex scenes in novels, it is a battle, however. I have more than enough suspense, crime etc to fill 350 pages. Sex sells. I see it often I just don’t think it’s necessary to the plot though a steamy kiss can up the passion within the characters. A scene from my first novel How to Steal a Romance includes several kisses- passion- but they put their passion on hold, one MC recognizing that she would have even as a Christian given in if he asked. A scene at one point says he pushes her against the car door, (cop + thief) and her show is they are entangled (arms, legs, they are still standing) and if (if they continued onward) she was to go to prison, she’d go with a smile on her face. Getting hotter than that is to me voyeurism. I know that others disagree, but I don’t want the novel to sell on the basis of sex. I have read good works but often just skip the sex scenes. When 1/3 of the book is graphic my read just goes faster 🙂

  5. Carl D'AgostinoCarl D'Agostino

    Read several adventure thriller novels with male and female main characters. Seems author felt the need to add a sex scene or two when really not necessary apparently obligatory. Often not in inline with hero/heroine relationship in story.

    • Cindy MahoneyCindy Mahoney

      Agree. I have too. I skip over the scenes that are inappropriate and stopped buying them. I want to support authors but when it sells because of sex, I don’t say anything. Just can’t.

  6. Jen SakoJen Sako

    I’m not even commenting to win the prize, although I wouldn’t hate to win either 😀 You have neatly articulated everything I feel about sex scenes. If done right, they are amazing and liberating. My writing group is made up of all genres from cozies to erotica. At a meeting, I struck up a conversation with a couple of cozy writers who dislike reading or writing sex scenes. One woman even said that the only way she would include sex was if it was a rape. I was stunned into silence at that comment but I wish I had read this post before. Next time, the topic arises (ahem), I’ll be more roused (ahem, ahem) to slide in (woo hoo) an educated opinion.

  7. J. EllyneJ. Ellyne

    I have so much to say about your wonderful post Cait. Thank you for writing it! It vindicates me. I have a few questions so I will ask them first in case you get bored. My first novel didn’t really have all that much sex in it but my husband was my first reader at that time and he didn’t like the sex scenes at all. He liked me to read my draft out loud to him and during the sex scenes he would interrupt to tell me, “That’s too much. You go to far Jini. The explicit descriptions are going to turn people off and limit your market.” You’re lucky you have family who support your writing Cait, even when it gets sexy. To me, novels meant to be read by adults need to have sex in them. I write high fantasy and, although I loved LOTR and have read it many times, it left me cold and made it hard for me believe that Aragorn and Arwen were so deeply in love since they never had sex. Was it a platonic, only-friends sort of love? I let my husband influence my first novel and I cut a lot of the sex out of it in the final version but doing so irked me. So I found another first reader, someone who thinks my sex scenes are brilliant. I think they are too. I’m very proud of them. However, things my husband said still haunt me, so I’m writing under a pen name because I am worried about what my sister would think and the people I sing with in my choir and my nephews and some of my life long friends. In fact I did share one novel with one of my best friends, a woman I used to write technical books with. I haven’t heard from her since. Am I a coward to be writing under a pen name so people won’t judge me harshly for writing explicit sex scenes?

    Before you answer that, I don’t write erotica, I write adult high fantasy with realistic sex included as a minor but necessary part of the plot. Here are my answers to the questions you asked:
    When to introduce sex into the story and the sex v. plot ratio – I never begin a novel with a sex scene. Usually sex doesn’t come into the plot until the third or fourth chapter. My ratio of sex scenes to other plot elements is about one to six or about the same ratio as sex plays in my life.
    Purple prose v. crass cusswords – I use words you and I would use in real life in my character’s dialogue. I avoid crass cusswords almost entirely. I write sex scenes, I don’t use four letter words in other dialogue.
    How to avoid the cookie-cutter Alpha male (and corresponding Mary Sue female) – I don’t write phony characters. I write characters who are very real. Even my most evil villains have a soft underbelly. Even my sexiest and most loveable female characters sometimes do mean things. These facets affect their sex scenes.
    Keeping the sex fresh, interesting, and unique in every single scene – how realistic to make sex in any given scene v. how much detail is TMI, even for your readers? This is a big challenge but I accept the challenge and work hard to not let the sex be repetitive. If I feel it’s going to be repetitive, I will sometimes do a fade to black just for a change of pace. I haven’t yet discovered any limit that would be TMI though. I would need to hear an example. Hmm now that I wrote that you’ve got me thinking of some. I write about sex that I would enjoy. I don’t write about watersports or other perversions I consider creepy and if another author does I would consider it TMI.
    What really makes a scene sexy? – my answer is realism and identification. The reader should be able to identify with one of the characters in the scene and feel like, yes, this is how they would like it to be and yes, the author has probably really experienced something like this because it seems so real.
    What makes a story sexy? Same answer, although my stories are not about sex per se; they simply have a healthy amount of sex in them.

    My next question to you Cait is how do you feel about my answers to those questions?

    I agree with almost everything you said in your post, except for one thing. You said you felt more free to write explicit sex scenes when you realized your readers wouldn’t be thinking of you having sex, they would think only of the characters. The problem with that is, every good author I know of puts elements of themselves into their stories and I can always tell which character is their surrogate. Many of these authors vehemently deny that any of their characters is them. Maybe you would too. Maybe all authors put themselves into a character subconsciously. I laughed when you said you sometimes retort that you have written about a murderer but have never murdered anyone. Okay, but I bet sometimes you have felt rage, and imagined murdering someone. Imagination is what it’s all about in this writing game. I dream my stories and when I wake up I write my dreams down and make them part of my novel. I am a person in the dream and I happily admit I am one of the characters in every novel I write. Perhaps she is only doing things I want to do, not things I have actually done. I have a good imagination.

    This last point is important to me because one of the things that stopped me having my husband be a first reader for my novels is the lesbian sex I put into my novel made him think I was bisexual. Maybe I am; I’m not telling. But seriously it caused a big problem in my marriage. So I think it’s better if I publish as J. Ellyne which is not my real name. People can think J. Ellyne is a bit of a slut if they want and it won’t affect me in real life.

  8. Julie MorganJulie Morgan

    Well now. Considering we wrote a book together I’m damn proud of this post! Love your sweet face and look for me in a class Ms Cait!!!
    We can never stop learning! <3

  9. Maria D'MarcoMaria D'Marco

    Great post — and I’m going to sign up for your class on the 14th as well. My first stab at what would now be called ‘erotica’ was in college, decades ago, and was also my first paid writing gig. It brought on a series of stories I asked the magazine to dub “One-handed Wonders”. The idea, of course, was that you could hold the mag open with one hand, while — well, you know…
    Anyway, I’d love to have more of your insights, so am looking forward to the class.
    Does your rebel rabble have a special flag? or t-shirts? Glad your pup is okay…mine waits to eat someone gross and then puke on the days that I actually have to be somewhere for an appointment with someone who I’ve waited 4 weeks to see. :o)
    Really enjoying your stint here…

    • Maria D'MarcoMaria D'Marco

      oh wait — that should have been my pup eating some-THING gross, not some-ONE…. jeeeeez

  10. Mary FosterMary Foster

    I once felt compelled – if conflicted – to write a certain sex scene. After much angst I did write it, and it was powerful. The feedback I got was: “It’s a masterpiece!” (Grrr, why hadn’t anyone said that my other writing was masterful? Later I forgave them, because they had excellent reasons for not praising my previous work.)

    BUT THE IMPORTANT PART of the experience was that after getting so intimate with my characters, my writing dramatically improved. Suddenly I knew how to live inside my characters hearts and minds. Dialogue improved exponentially and I could now have fun with my characters, shed tears with them, anguish for them, etc.

    The sex scene never made it into the novel, but the novel finally came to life. Thanks for letting me share.

    • cindycindy

      Hi Mary –

      In my first novel, I did put in a sex scene–not heavy, just there. Later, felt it showed the passion, but didn’t think it belonged. It was fine for me to write it and delete. Sort of like backstory but something that never occurred… It did show up in their actions the passion they had toward one another — without jumping into bed, and how much they had to fight it back. So the look don’t touch scenes became more powerful in subsequent revisions. Their other emotions — like what you shared — were stronger.

    • ChrisChris

      An interesting point, Mary. It gave me a sense of déjà vu. I too learnt to ‘get inside’ my characters’ inner selves from writing their more intimate encounters.

      The first crime novel I wrote, ‘Transactions’ – “The special selection box of assorted tarts”, had two teenaged schoolgirl prostitutes at the core of its plot, who would come from their well to do country home into Bristol city centre to work the streets. They’d change at the station, and each would be picked up by a couple of early evening kerb crawlers (on streets notorious at the time for streetwalkers). The money they earned paid for their night out clubbing and a taxi home. (This was based on a real scenario I was told about, though I made the two girls sisters in my book whereas the originals were just ‘best friends’). Naturally the competition from two pretty, well dressed, youngsters upset the regular street girls who were often working to support a drug habit.

      One teenager was over the age of consent, while the other was just below, so when I got the book accepted by a publisher (after polishing and re-writing considerably) some of the, albeit sensitively written, sex scenes were questioned. The publisher liked the writing but felt that although Amazon were OK about sex scenes, they frowned on any details where underaged sex was concerned. Amazon was an important gateway, as most books he published were in Kindle format initially to be followed by paperback editions.

      It was suggested that I either made both girls older, which would spoil the jeopardy element of the plot (Would the younger girl’s unaware regular client be caught out or not?) or that I should seriously edit those scenes involving the younger, but older looking (important to the plot), sister. I did the latter, which in fact improved the book by implying and suggesting more than was actually described in the scenes. My publisher was happy with the result (https://www.ex-l-ence.com/collections/crime-detective/products/transactions)

      However, writing those original scenes, which one female beta reader was sad to hear I’d cut because she found them tender and warm rather than blatantly erotic, taught me to write from within my characters rather than writing as an outside observer simply reporting what’s going on.

      Nothing’s wasted though, as those removed scenes were saved in my ‘useful stuff’ file and later re-used, with only changes to names, hair, dress, and other relevant details, in a later story in what became the ‘Lena’s Friends’ series of crime novels. The latest one, ‘Sharknose’ – “Seeing that toyshop has just reminded me of something” has just been published in Kindle edition, with paperback to follow shortly. (https://www.ex-l-ence.com/collections/lenas-friends/products/sharknose)

  11. Earnest PainterEarnest Painter

    I mean, if you’re going to have a coup d’etat, it may as well be a steamy one.

  12. Ro MolinaRo Molina

    I had a blast at the last Shifter writing class and this one is definitely next on my list. 🙂

  13. Jessica EdouardJessica Edouard

    I am commenting to win…cum on, I mean, come on lucky number seven.

    PS…I’ve enjoyed the takeover immensely, and I promise to never use “old.” Ewww, grandpa.

  14. David AndersonDavid Anderson

    “For the love of God, why are men in romance and erotica novels so damn chatty when they are having sex?”

    Just one of the reasons men can’t stand Romance novels. I read some of it because it’s the best selling genre. I wondered if I could incorporate anything from it. The men and the dialogue were so unrealistic and so purple I thought I’d puke.

    Great stories often have great love stories as part of it. But that is not what you find in most romance and erotica.

  1. Writing Links 6/26/17 – Where Genres Collide

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